On June 22, Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, spoke to more than 60 paddlers about river biodiversity during the annual Jonah Center Canoe and Kayak Paddle. Paddlers left from Harbor Park in Middletown and explored the Connecticut River and Wilcox Island, the lower Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers, as well as the “Floating Meadows” where those two rivers converge. Pictured here, Chernoff is speaking about fish who live in a 90-foot hole located in the Mattabesset River.
Chernoff has served as member, vice-chairman and chairman of the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Biological Scientists through appointment by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on conservation of aquatic ecosystems in Latin America and the evolutionary biology and ecology of South American freshwater fishes. He has published more than 70 scholarly papers and books. At Wesleyan, Chernoff and his students are investigating aquatic invertebrate ecology and community structure as well as heavy metals of fishes in Connecticut rivers.
Kyle Beaudette, box office manager at the Center for the Arts, paddles up the Connecticut River. Beaudette and fellow paddlers collected garbage and debris from the rivers while on the three-hour journey.
Elise Springer ’90, associate professor of philosophy and Jonah Center Board Member, looks for wildlife on Mattabesset River. Springer’s philosophical work includes reflection on ecological awareness and critical interventions. She has served as a fellow at Wesleyan’s College of the Environment and studied the history and legacy of Middletown’s industrial dam sites.
Paddlers explore the 400-acre “Floating Meadows” tidal wetland at the confluence of the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers.